Around Lake Ohrid: Struga Walking Tour, Cave Church, & St. George Church
- Monastery and cave church: See the beautifully preserved art inside a lakeshore church built into rock in the 13th century, then stroll the peaceful grounds of the Holy Mother of God Monastery.
- St. George Church: More than 50 centuries-old icons (one said to have miraculous powers) were found during renovations, and are now on display at this small church in the heart of Struga.
- Dr. Nikola Nezlobinski museum: Enjoy this small but interesting museum that features artifacts from the Neolithic period, an art gallery, and a fascinating dragonfly collection.
About this Ohrid Tour
There's a church on the grounds of the Holy Mother Monastery, just south of the village of Kalista on Lake Ohrid. It's one of many, many churches in the villages surrounding the lake here, but this is one of two built in the caves by the monastery, and one of the few in Europe depicting a nativity scene with a black Mary and Jesus.
The church dates from the 14th or 15th century, and few written records exist. So who painted the Black Nativity – and why – remains a mystery.
Portraits of Archangels Michael and Gabriel, the guardians of the church, are painted by the church entrance. Inside, the church is completely decorated in frescos, including one of St. Pateleimon and his teacher, St. Ermolai, both of whom were jointly tortured and executed by the Romans in 304 A.D.
There's also a painting of the philosopher St. Cyril (inventor of the Cyrillic alphabet) and St. Clement of Ohrid (founder of the Orthodox faith) performing religious services while turned toward each other. This composition is extremely rare, as religious art generally shows icons facing toward the front.
Still, the painting of the black Mary and Jesus is certainly the most intriguing religious portrait of the many in the region, partly because it's so old and partly because Europe was not exactly racially diverse at the time. So one can't help but wonder: Was the artist making a statement of some kind?
Do you believe in miracles?
The painting of the black Mary and Jesus is said to have healing powers. Women unable to bear children are the most frequent to beseech its blessings, and believers claim to have witnessed many miracles – including some that saved the painting itself. During the turbulence of World War II it was thrown into Lake Ohrid several times, each time returning to shore unassisted and unscathed.
Please make your way to the Ohrid Central Square and meet your guide at the St. Clement monument. Look for our representative with the GoBe sign.
Bring local currency as there is an entrance fee to Kaljiste Cave Church, if you wish to enter. Struga Museum Entrance fee included
The venue has a narrow entrance with steep steps over 2 floors. The height of the entrance is extremely low and travelers will be required to climb 42 stairs.
Walking Tour, Cultural, Scenic
Tour Participation Requirements
This experience is rated moderate. Full participation may require extended periods of walking over even and uneven surfaces, steep terrain and/or water activity in a slight current. There may be steps, inclines, cobblestone surfaces, and extended periods of standing. Participants with physical limitations should take this into account.
Suitable for all ages.
Full refunds issued for cancellations made 7 full days prior to the date and time of requested services. Cancellations made within the 7-day and 72-hour window will receive a 50% refund of purchase total. Purchases are non-refundable inside of 72 hours.
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